Jan Van Couver

Ohio native Jan Van Couver first received minor attention in the late ‘70s as part of the band Cincinnati Sunset. However, it was a 1980 demo tape on which he sang that became his unexpected career boost. He cut the demo of “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”, a Barry Mann/Carole Bayer Sager composition that was being delivered to Al Jarreau for possible inclusion on Jarreau’s landmark album “Lip’Sync”. Jarreau not only liked the song, he liked the singer on the tape and invited Van Couver to provide the vocals to both “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” and “One Hundred Ways (To Love You)” on “Lip’Sync”. Of course, “Lip’Sync” became an international smash and both Van Couver cuts rocketed up the adult contemporary charts, ultimately landing Van Couver a Grammy Award for best MOR vocal performance.

Van Couver’s debut album, “Talk to My Heart”, was released to great anticipation, and it didn’t disappoint. Led off by the Michael McDonald-esque smash hit “Our Love…(That’s Why)”, ‘Heart’ was perhaps the best album of the early Fall of 1983 and boasted the most strained ballad of that year, “(Sometimes) The Hardest Way, Is The Only Way To Your Heart”. Most of that album was also included on Van Couver’s 1995 greatest hits disc, “Just Van Couver”, which is an essential album for every waistcoat-wearing music lover the world over.

The next decade saw Van Couver work predominantly in the world of film soundtracks. During this time he struck up a solid and uninspired working relationship with euro synthesiser pioneer, Jan Hammer. The pair churned out cinematic sound-scapes at a staggering rate but remain best remembered for their more rudimentary work on the Oscar nominated movies: “Cop and a Half”, “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” and “Silence of the Lambs”.

Van Couver’s own solo career tailed off somewhat in the ‘90s due to misguided promotional direction and an ill-judged comment about Gregory Hines on the “Arsenio Hall” show in 1992. Despite this, Van Couver continued to write chart material for stars such as Kenny G, Curtis Stigers and Shanice throughout the decade. After a six year hiatus, Van Couver released “Forever Van Couver: The Complete Works” in 1999, which included re-recordings of some of his biggest hits along with some lesser new material. He also appeared as a guest vocalist on Jim Messina’s “That Time of Year” holiday album in 2001.

Van Couver has continued to provide guest vocals for a number of artists and has been a regular participant in cable TV telethons since 2002. He’s recently written a children’s musical based on the life of dancer Debbie Allen called “Nite-Moves” and intends to write a follow up with Pat Benatar in between present commitments. It’s this flexibility that recently led Marty Break to admit that when was looking for someone to carry his new stage show – Spring Break – the only man in the running was Van Couver.